April 8, 2013

Chili with a Twist

Spicy Turkey Chili with Pumpkin

turkey chili

When I woke up and looked outside today we had a little bit of morning gloom.  Although there was no rain, I couldn't help but think of "April showers bring May flowers", and hoping we get a little more rain before Summer comes.  I love warming up my house by cooking something in the kitchen all day.  Slow cooked meals are some of our favorites, and I love being able to prepare the meal early and come home to a house that smells wonderful!

chili spices

I've always loved cooking chili in the slow cooker, and for the last few years have been trying to get my recipe just right.  Pretty early on we decided that we wanted it hot and spicy and made with turkey instead of beef.   About a year ago, I thought I had it just the way we liked it, until I discovered a chili recipe that called for pumpkin.  Pumpkin and chili?  How awesome did that sound!? I simply added the pumpkin to my regular chili recipe and it was fantastic!  I have added pumpkin to my chili ever since. 

pumpkin chili

This past New Year's we were invited by some awesome friends, Brooke and Jason, to stay in a cabin in Lake Arrowhead for a couple of days.  Each couple that went was responsible for cooking a meal for the others.  And, of course, I decided to lug my slow cooker up there and make my famous chili.  Surrounded by snow and great company, the smell of chili filled the cabin and we had a great time ringing in the New Year!

chili veggieskidney beans and black beans

Although I don't stray from this recipe much anymore, chili is the perfect dish to experiment with.  You can switch out ingredients, make it mild or hot, and add different kinds of meat or beans.  I've been thinking of hunting down some ground buffalo/bison, I think that would make an awesome substitution!  But no matter what,when you cook it in the slow cooker it is pretty foolproof! 

chili in the slow cooker

The ingredient list for this recipe may seem a little long, but there is not much to it except browning some meat, sauteeing some veggies, and throwing it all in a crockpot.  I usually serve my chili with lots of chopped onions and cheese on top with a side of fresh baked cornbread.  Tonight it was spicy Serrano Cornbread. 

Spicy Turkey Chili

Serves 6-8

1 1/4 lbs ground turkey
2 small bell peppers, large dice (I used one red, one orange)
1 onion, diced
2 Serrano chilies, seeds removed, diced (you can omit or substitute with jalapeno for a more mild chili)
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp paprika
1/2 tbsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp cayenne pepper (use less for a not-so-spicy chili)
salt and pepper
olive oil
1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 15 oz cans stewed tomatoes, Mexican style, roughly chopped the tomatoes and don't drain them.
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree (be sure not to get pumpkin pie filling)
1 cup frozen corn
2 cups chicken broth

Heat 1-2 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over med-high heat.  Add onion, bell peppers, chilies, and garlic and saute for about 5 minutes until veggies begin to soften.  Add tomato paste and cook for 1 minute more.  Add all of the spices and stir until combined.  Add to slow cooker.

Cook the ground turkey seasoned with salt and pepper over med-high heat, breaking it up into small pieces with a spatula.  When the turkey is cooked through, remove it from the heat and add it to the slow cooker. 

Add all of the remaining ingredients (beans, tomatoes with their juice, pumpkin, corn, and chicken broth) to the slow cooker and stir to combine. 

Cook on low for 6 hours.  You can really go as short as 3 hours and as long as 8, everything is already cooked, but the longer it cooks the more the flavors deepen. 


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